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Face Mask with Hinged Jaw (Bu gle)

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Face Mask with Hinged Jaw (Bu gle)

12 x 5 3/4 x 4 1/2 in. (30.5 x 14.6 x 11.4 cm)

Unknown, Dan
Ivoirian

Object Type: Sculpture
Medium and Support: Wood, metal, monkey fur, sacrificial materials
Credit Line: Marion Stratton Gould Fund
Accession Number: 1969.21
Location: Currently on view
Link to this object

This mask originally had a hinged jaw that has broken off and is now covered with a patch of monkey fur. Masks like this are believed to embody spiritual beings capable of settling disputes with clear impartiality. By clattering the upper and lower jaw together the mask voices his judgments. The metal eye rims obscure the human eyes beneath and enhance an already penetrating glare. The thick crust visible on the surface is the result of sacrificial materials that have been “fed” to the bu gle – an appropriate way to control the powers of the mask.
[Gallery label text, 2009]

Provenance
John T. Chandler, Wyckoff, NJ; purchased from him by the Gallery in 1969

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